Pew Research Centre Study: The State of Journalism

Posted: April 6, 2011 by Joanne Goodall in Uncategorized

The most optimistic finding that I found through the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism was their findings on people getting their news from mobile devices. I view this information as a positive thing because it shows that people are still interested in news, they still want to read the news, and they are still following current events (local, national, and international), therefore, the market for news and the demand for news is still present. We, the journalists, have to adapt to this new change and switch to these mobile devices and be creative with the mediums! Just because paper is dying doesn’t mean there are fewer stories out there to cover, or that no one wants to read or watch a long form documentary piece, or that their job is going to be cut- we just have to come to terms with the fact that technology keeps changing and our job, like many other jobs (car industries adapting to robotics, fashion industry adapting to new styles and trends, publishing companies adapting to online e-Books, etc.) is to learn how to use the new mediums (cell phones, iPads, iPods, tablets, etc) to our benefit and its full potential. According to the study, almost half of Americans get their local news and information through their mobiles- this is a huge number and it would be easy for the percentage to grow because more and more people are buying smart phones, becoming interested in tablets, and most people own an iPod as their media player.

Also, it’s very optimistic looking at the research found on local news reader/viewership. More people are turning to local news websites for their information on current events. Websites like Patch allow people to engage in their local community, follow their local politicians, and find out what’s happening in their community. I think this is becoming the norm due to the engagement aspect of the local website. People are more willing to comment on stories that directly affect them or their families than stories with an international or possibly a national feel or research. Also, revenue for local news websites is increasing as well, though its placement on the website is quite different. Local news websites are still receiving funds through local business, but also through community donations. I really enjoyed watching the Washington Post videos “on Being” more so than reading their news content because the stories are on “real” people. I love profile pieces and its very interesting to learn what other people, of all ages, ethnicity, and backgrounds believe about themselves and the world around them.

The most surprising data from their research on journalism: that over 50 percent of people researched finds their local news on up to 6 different devices monthly. Coming from a family who strictly watched local news on television every evening and read the newspaper in the morning, it’s odd to think that people are finding their news on different devices other than the traditional newspaper, television, or radio. I can see how this could be easily done though: you wake up in the morning, read the newspaper. When you drive to work you listen to the radio. During your lunch break you read a few articles on your Blackberry. When you go home you turn on the television to CBC news. Sometime through the month you will read articles online and you might buy a magazine to kill time on a bus ride home. Not to mention you own a tablet or an iPad. It’s going to be really difficult for traditional news to transfer their business easily to the new devices, however, it’s a step that needs to be done if they want to keep their loyal “fan’ base.

The continuing change in technology has changed the nature of the news business, especially in advertising and revenue. Web companies are trying their best to be more creative with their marketing because online viewers are “smart”. Pop up ads never worked because people believed they were annoying and simply shut them down. Privacy was chucked out of the window due to web advertising. Google using a program to scan your emails to find key words for ads relating to what you are writing about. Facebook sells your profile information to advertisers and marketing agencies to match information to ads that you might click on. Classifieds in newspapers are losing money due to free online websites like Kijiji. Both journalism mediums and marketing/advertising firms have to deal with this dilemma and find solutions that work best for the media, the viewers/readers, and the companies.


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